What is the Church Saying about Gun Control? by Corrinn Cobb
It seems the buzz phrase in media today is gun control. After the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, political leaders have taken aim at guns and gun violence. Even celebrities have taken a stand, with the likes of Beyonce, Will.I.Am, Gwyneth Paltrow and others posting a collaborative PSA on Youtube called “Demand a Plan” [Available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64G5FfG2Xpg]. Despite a counter-video calling out the hypocrisy of the violent movie roles that many of the actors have contributed to, the PSA has garnered a lot of attention and support. It seems that everyone has an opinion on gun control.
One voice that seems to be missing, however, is from that of the faith community. Even before the Sandy Hook shooting, I have always felt a unified stance in regards to gun violence has been lacking from the church. When a shooting occurs in my home of Chicago – sure a pastor from a local storefront church steps up to address cameras and reporters – but a collaborative approach from faith leaders is almost non-existent. Thus, communities are left to cope with gun violence on their own. There’s no PSA from celebrities, breakings news on Twitter feeds, and no national call for action.
In the midst of my frustrations concerning the dialogue around gun violence and gun control, a part of me felt a sense of hope when Vice President Biden met with faith leaders late last week. For one, I was happy to see that the Obama administration had gone this route: let’s face it, faith leaders aren’t always invited to the table when it comes to politics. Second, I learned that Biden was meeting with faith representatives across the nation – a sign that there was indeed a unified voice coming from the church. Participants of that panel included my pastor and friend, Pastor Michael McBride of The Way Christian Center in Berkeley, California. Pastor McBride is spear-heading Lifelines to Healing, a national campaign by the PICO National network. PICO – which stands for People Improving Communities through Organizing – is a faith-based organization working to address issues facing communities on a national-scale.
As the Obama administration continues to grapple with gun reform, I hope that out of this, leaders and congregations across all faiths come together to address gun violence. I believe that the church in particular is called to have a greater response to this issue, not just when the violence happens on our own block.
What are your thoughts on gun violence? What are some suggestions you would give to Vice President Biden and his panel of faith leaders in regards to gun control?
Below is a link to an article highlighting Vice President Biden’s meeting with faith leaders.
Also, be sure to check out PICO National Network’s Lifelines to Healing Campaign on Facebook.